Yes, Zucchini is Paleo!
Looks like Cucumber!
Zucchini is a summer squash that belongs to the vegetable family of Cucurbitaceae together with melons and cucumbers. It is popular in America and Europe and is believed to have originated in Central America and Mexico. Zucchini is frequently treated as vegetable same with squash but it is technically a fruit. But unlike other fruits, zucchini is usually cooked before consumed. It can be steamed, boiled, grilled, stuffed and baked. It is a good addition to soups, salads and main dishes.
Zucchini has a soft, tender skin, creamy, crunchy, white flesh and a delicate flavor. It has small edible seeds and contains lots of moisture. The color of zucchini is usually light or dark green but may vary depending on its cultivar. Some zucchinis can be golden yellow or orange too. Its shape and size is very close to that of cucumber.
Popular Varieties of Zucchini
There is a wide variety of zucchinis and some of the popular ones are as follows:
- Black Beauty – It is one of the most popular varieties in the market. Black beauty bears very dark green fruit with compact plants.
- Fordhook – A zucchini that produces cylindrical, smooth, medium green fruits. Its flesh is creamy white.
- Gadzukes – This variety produces dark green Italian-type zucchini with light green ridges. Sliced gadzukes resembles a star when sliced crosswise. It has a sweet, crisp taste.
- Dunja – A type that yields dark green, straight zucchinis.
- Gourmet Gold – these are bright yellow-orange zucchinis with a classic taste.
- Caserta – This type has light greenish-grey color with alternate, darker green stripes. It has creamy, dense flesh with excellent flavor.
- Aristocrat – This variety features a waxy skin and medium green color.
- Bush Baby – This zucchini is a well proportioned baby zucchini at small lengths. It is green in color with green stripes along the ribs. The taste is excellent that makes it ideal for grilling.
- Round de nice – is a type that produces round, dark green fruit excellent for stuffing.
- Golden Egg – Another type that is yellowin color and shape like elongated eggs. It has a creamy flavourful flesh.
Nutrition Facts on Zucchini
Zucchini is indeed a nutritious fruit and is packed with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. It is an excellent source of vitamins A and C and manganese. It is also rich in dietary fiber, folate, copper, potassium, phosphorus and B vitamins.
A favorite of low-carb dieters, zucchini has high water percentage that makes it very low in calories, carbohydrates and sugars.
Health Benefits of Zucchini
Fruits and vegetables are necessary to obtain the body’s optimum health. Eating the entire zucchini, from the flesh to the seeds, comes with powerful health benefits
Zucchini is considered to be one of the good sources of vitamin A and lutein, which is important for eye health. Lutein prevents the eyes from the damage of UV rays which contribute to macular degeneration.
High Vitamin C content
Zucchini have high amounts of vitamin C. Vitamin C is known to be a powerful water soluble antioxidant. It aids in preventing diseases such as sclerosis. Vitamin C also helps in treating asthma. The vitamin C together with folate and beta-carotene content in zucchini can help protect against harmful chemicals. Vitamin C also has anti-inflammatory properties which can aid in naturally curing osteoarthritis, asthma, and rheumatoid arthritis, where swelling is greatly painful.
Antioxidants and Anticancer Benefits
Apart from vitamin C, zucchini also contains carotenoids that give its color. Lutein and zeaxanthin are carotenoids with antioxidant properties. They help in warding off harmful free radicals that are responsible for aging and various disease processes.
The combination of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory contents of zucchini can protect against certain cancers.
Zucchini can support capillary health and lower high homocysteine levels. Most nutrients that zucchini contains are effective in preventing heart diseases. Potassium can regulate blood pressure and heart rate by countering the effects of sodium. Vitamin C-rich foods can also help maintain the crucial lining of the blood cells, lower blood pressure, and protect against inflammation and clogged arteries.
The significant amounts of dietary fiber and water in zucchini, it can aid in preventing constipation and protecting against colon cancer. Zucchini offers anti-0inflammatory protection in the gastrointestinal tract which can help reduce risk of IBS, leaky gut syndrome and ulcer.
Because zucchini is extremely low in caloric content, consumption can easily make a person feel full. Zucchini can be the best alternative for people who are trying to lose weight without opting into crash diet.
Other Names for Zucchini
Courgette, summer squash
What Experts Say About Zucchini
“Freshest – and most plentiful – among local growers between May and July, zucchinis are an excellent source of vitamin C and manganese and a good source of dietary fiber, magnesium, vitamin A, potassium, copper, folate, phosphorus, omega-3 fatty acids, protein and several B vitamins.” – Mark Sisson
All you ever wanted to know about Zucchini and Paleo
Mark’s Daily Apple. Top 10 Summer Vegetables
Mark’s Daily Apple. Fall Vegetables.
Paleo Grubs. Food You Can Eat on the Paleo Diet
Paleo Porn. Is Zucchini Paleo?
Nutrition and You. Zucchini Nutrition Facts
Organic Facts. Health Benefits of Zucchini
The World’s Healthiest Foods. Summer Squash
Dr. Axe. Zucchini Nutrition — Low in Calories & Loaded with Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Grow It Organically. Zucchini Varieties and Types of Zucchini
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photo credit: Petit-Fays – en cuisine